Tag: liberal

Australia Votes 2010

Australia Votes 2010

Okay, here’s my quick take on the Aussie election:
– It’ll be decided by the independents, there’s only one green in the house and he wont play ball with Liberal/National coalition.
– The independents are all former National members who felt that country Australia and the environmental factors were being ignored – more likely to side with a lib/nat coalition but it’ll be the greenest shade the coalition has ever had.
– Best case scenario for the country: one of the major parties works with greens/independents for a carbon trading scheme and tax reforms that make Australia a safe place to invest, making up for their lack of economic planing. The investment coming into the country from safe economic planning can then be funneled into long needed infrastructure.

Set up to fail? Democracy or plutocracy?

Set up to fail? Democracy or plutocracy?

Recent anomalies in British Columbian and Canadian election results have re-ignited electoral reform as a prominent topic of debate. The British Columbian Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in 2004 was the first successful implementation of deliberative democracy with directly legislated decision-making powers.

The assembly’s recommended voting system, the British Columbian Single-Transferable-Vote (or BC-STV), was supported by 95% of its members. However, the final recommendation was subject to a provincial referendum which only garnered 57.7% of support province-wide, falling 2.3% short of the 60% supermajority required to pass – demonstrating a vast disparity compared to its support within the Citizens’ Assembly.

Recently, I have been flooded with articles and opinions saying that BC rejected STV in the last referendum. However, I cannot possibly fathom how this argument can be legitimately made. It looks to me that BC accepted STV with a landslide in political terms. Just four years earlier, in 2001, the liberals had a “landslide victory” with 77 out of 79 seats from 57.6% of the popular vote – less than STV had when it “failed” to gain acceptance.

People from the NO-STV campaign have been kicking and screaming about the possibility of a minority getting input in making decisions. Do they not realise that they were the minority in 2005 that stopped the majority (57.7%) getting the change that they voted for?

The assembly process was designed by Hon. Gordon Gibson, a former politician and recipient of the Order of British Columbia. Following Gibson’s recommendations, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (with 77 of the 79 seats held by BC Liberals) had the final say on enacting it. The legislature included additional rules such as a 60% supermajority of the popular vote through a referendum process. The only public communication planned for the final design was a leaflet that was mailed to every house in the province five-months before the referendum.

Leading up to the 2005 referendum there was almost no campaign whatsoever and there was a strong anti-STV sentiment within the media pundits. Considering the inherent restraints and direct opposition, the Citizens’ Assembly and the electorate of British Columbia can be applauded for the success of 57.7% provincial support.

So I have a few questions.

What does the discrepancy between the Citizens’ Assembly support compared to that of the public referendum support say about the process? The assembly members were chosen from the general public. Why did the recommendation not ultimately pass at voting time? Were these eleven months and 5.5 million dollars of taxpayers’ money well spent? Was this a very expensive stunt or will it finally lead to much needed change in BC?

It’s now come to crunch time and the citizens’ of BC can either be lead into fear by those who’s interests are protected by the current FPTP system, or they can take steps of faith and lead the way for the world in adopting a system that was designed for the people, by the people, with the support of the people.

For more information read my thesis – Closing the Gap in Deliberative Democracy:? The Importance of Communication in the?Post-Deliberative Process

The Apocalypse: 6.8 Billion Resume's

The Apocalypse: 6.8 Billion Resume's

As a society, we are increasingly obsessed with defining ourselves. Think about most introductions that people make: “Hi, I’m John, and I’m a Student,” or “Dr. Smith at your service, surgical doctor, that is.”

While we do change our introductions based on who we are talking to, we have a reasonable small circulation of them. The revolve primarily around what we do. Sometimes they extend to what we think: “I’m liberal.” In conversation it is often our history or our personality: “I’m from Vancouver” or “I’m optimistic.”

When we define ourselves by belief systems and assumptions, we are being close minded and start to be walk a dangerous path: “We should all just buy more and the economy will pull itself back out of this mess.”

We even define ourselves by our flaws or struggles. While it is humbling to see our flaws, what does it achieve by boxing ourselves?

These fundamentally little things seem to be so important to us.

If you look throughout history at all the atrocities, you can blame religious institutions, political movements, ideologues, zealots and nincompoops. But what is the real problem? People try so hard to define themselves that they walk a dangerous path.We struggle to be challenged at our very core.

“But we are a tolerant society now?” Really? Well, even if we are, there is a huge difference between tolerating others and recognising that you would benefit from changing yourself.

It is emotionally unsettling to be undefined. We seek out people that define themselves similarly so that we can all pat each other on the back and applaud how right we are. It prevents us being challenged.

Furthermore, encouraging someone to make a change is insulting. When did this become the case? Okay, do we just strive to tolerate everyone? No. That would be the end of us. We need to learn from others.

The information society is taking us one step closer every day to having a quantifiable definition of ourselves. When that happens, how are we any different to 6.8 billion machines? Quantified definitions are not very different to machine specifications.

Why can we not define ourselves by what we can be? Each of us have the potential to be much greater than we currently are. But even the act of defining oneself by what they could be would be limiting. Would defining oneself as the potential world leader simultaneously limit them being bohemian designer?

We need to encourage others to be all that they can be. We need to love and accept who we are but also love and strive for who we can be.
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The Ignorance of Trendy -ism Bashers

The Ignorance of Trendy -ism Bashers

I have been in the middle of many conversations recently where people have been bashing one particular way of thinking. These have ranged from creationism and Darwinism to capitalism and socialism. Without a doubt I have been playing the devils advocate and it certainly makes me unpopular with some people who don’t understand why I’m not agreeing with their “logic.”

University educated students, particularly in western countries, really think they know it all – they are certainly on the right track to knowledge, but they are certainly suckers for popularism.

Many people that I respect as critical thinkers are constantly putting their proverbial feet into their collective mouths by mindlessly insulting whatever -ism seems to be unpopular with their peers or greater society.

This -ism bashing trend is certainly not new. It used to be cool to think that our flat world was the centre of the universe, that a monarch was omnipotent or that free-thinking women were devil worshipers.

We’ve gone back and forth from polar opposites throughout our entire existence. Liberalism and conservatism. Some of our ways of thinking are so similar and yet are bashed on their different defining nuances in complete ignorance. Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism.

Statistically, it is incredibly improbable that any one of them would be completely correct. Individualism or collectivism? However, the reverse is actually very true as well. There is a very good chance that many of them will be right in many different ways. Industrialism and environmentalism.

So, what do all our favourite -ism’s have in common? They can’t all be completely right, but they can’t all be completely wrong.

Furthermore, what has history taught us? Ignorance may be bliss for a while, but no single way of thinking has lasted the time. Localism, nationalism or globalisation?

Maybe we’re just early into our evolutionary path; maybe that path was designed by an intelligent being; maybe we’ll make contact with other intelligent life forms; maybe there is more to the human psyche that we could ever conceive; maybe we can be united or maybe division and segregation is in our nature.

With our current knowledge of science, spirituality, humanity, politics, economics and the universe that we live in there is really only one option if you want save face and not be humiliated by ignorance or hypocrisy: Be humble, open-minded, practice constructive critic-ism, and most importantly, learn to bite your tongue.